Cop on accessory rap for court shooting

Cop on accessory rap for court shooting

A policeman attached to the Chanthaburi Provincial Court has been charged with being an accessory to murder after a deadly courtroom shooting last year that claimed three lives just as judges were about to hear testimony in a land dispute case.

Pol Capt Khachon Banchong "handed his pistol" to a paralegal who gunned down Pol Maj Gen Tharin Chantratip after he killed a rival and his lawyer over a decade-long quarrel over 3,800 rai of land in Tha Mai district of the province, deputy Crime Suppression Division (CSD) chief Anek Taosuphap said yesterday.

Three people -- Pol Maj Gen Tharin, the defendant; Bancha Porameesanaporn, a plaintiff; and his lawyer, Wijai Sukharom – died in the Nov 12 shooting, which raised concerns over courthouse security.

Surveillance footage showed Pol Capt Khachon did not follow proper procedures to end the shooting. He also let the gunman, identified as Thanakorn Theerawarodom, escape.

"We will also charge Pol Capt Khachon with dereliction of duty," Pol Col Anek said. The CSD yesterday forwarded their findings to prosecutors for the indictment.

Mr Thanakorn earlier faced a murder charge after failing to convince investigators of his innocence. He claimed he needed to stop and kill Pol Maj Gen Tharin because the retired policeman allegedly pointed his gun at other people.

Pol Maj Gen Tharin and Bancha were brothers-in-law. Their wives are daughters of a late land owner.

Following the tragedy, the CSD discovered the property at the centre of the land dispute may actually belong to a nearby temple through its Aphitham Mahathat Witthayalai Foundation.

Bunchuai Charoensathaphon, the younger brother of a monk and former chairman of the foundation, has been accused of illegally appropriating the land.

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